A good scope can be the difference between hitting and missing your target.
While this is bothersome when hunting or in competitive shooting, it could be a major problem in a serious military situation. A good mid-range tactical scope will help you zoom in on your specific target and lock in the precise point where you want your shot to go.
Knowing how important your scope is, it’s important to buy the best one. However, with so many choices available on the market picking the best one can be confusing and frustrating. While picking a scope can be done strictly by looking at the specs and features, a lot of it comes down to personal preferences so be sure to keep your own needs in mind. To help you make an informed decision, some of the best mid-range tactical scopes on the market have been compiled and reviewed so you can compare and contrast them easily.
You need your scope to have certain features to ensure that it’ll work the way you need it to when the time comes. Put simply, you need your scope to properly magnify your target so that you make your shot easily. However, any scope will do this to some degree so you need to dig a little deeper and look at some of the other features. While you can compare all available specs when shopping for a scope, you can narrow it down to eye relief, objective lens size, and the field of view. These are the features that most experienced shooters tend to consider when shopping for a scope.
When it comes to riflescopes the eye relief is how far you can keep your eye from the ocular lens of the scope while still getting a clear look at your target. This is usually measured in inches with standard scopes having a relief of no more than four inches. The eye relief is important because how far away your head and face is from the rifle helps keep you safe from strong recoils when you fire off a round.
Similarly, you should consider the exit pupil of a scope. The exit pupil is the circle of light that forms in the scope when you hold the scope toward a clear patch of sky (not toward the sun) at arm’s length. The larger this disc of light is, the clearer your target will be. It will also mean that you have a little more leeway with how you position your head in relation to your scope since the exit pupil is larger.
A scope needs a good lens for obvious reasons. You want the lens to be clear at every magnification so that you can read your target properly. The clarity of the lens will also allow you to read the wind properly even if there are no markers like tree branches or flags. While the only real way to tell the clarity of a scope is to look through the lens, you can usually trust the top brands to use the best glass to achieve the best clarity.
Similarly, you should compare the objective lens size of the scopes as you shop. While some amateur shooters think that the larger the diameter is the better the scope is but this really isn’t the case. In fact, the larger the lens, the more cumbersome it can be. This is because a larger lens can throw your rifle off balance making it harder to hold in order to properly make your shot.
This is how far you can see from left to right at a given distance through the scope. This value is usually measured for every 100 yards and adjusts as you adjust the magnification. Specifically, when you increase the magnification, the field of view will decrease and vice versa. Seeing a wider range of the plane in front of you is important since you’ll be able to track a target better so the available field of view needs to be considered as you shop.
Now that you know what to look for and have a general idea of the important details of the top scopes, here are the detailed reviews of the best mid-range tactical scopes on the market. Take each one into consideration and see how they match up with your own preferences and requirements before making a final decision.
Whenever you buy a product, there are certain features you should look at to determine if it fits your needs and preferences. When it comes to a mid-range scope you should look at the body specifications, the eye relief, the reticle and reticle location, and the objective lens size. For your convenience, here is a quick comparison chart of some of some of the best scopes.
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Elcan Specterdr 1/4x5.56 NATO Flat Dark Earth Pride Fowler PFI Rapid-Reticle RR Evolution 3-12x42mm
Length 12 inches 6.02 inches 13.8 inches
Weight 14.6 oz 23.2 oz 22.1 oz
Eye Relief (inches) 3.1 inches 2.75 inches 3.93 inches
Reticle Dead-Hold BDC (MOA) Selectable BDC
Reticle Location SFP SFP FFP
Objective Lens Size 40mm 32mm 42mm
Price ($USD) Check Price Check Price Check Price
Efficient and compact, this quality scope tends to be geared more toward hunters but is used by marksmen of different backgrounds. It features multi-coated glass, an unlimited parallax adjustment, and quick-focusing features. It’s on the cheaper side in terms of price while still offering the trusted quality craftsmanship that Vortex is known for.
It’s important to note that this scope doesn’t have an illumination feature. However, the multi-coated glass uses anti-reflective material to increase the light transmission of the lens so that you can see properly without illumination. The objective lens is also adjustable to create quality image focus. Here, there is also a parallax removal option which will stop any blacking out while you aim.
The scope features a second focal plane Dead-Hold BDC reticle as well as sub-tensions that can help you make more accurate corrections for windage and range. It is also fog proof and waterproof making it easier to use in the elements as well as capped turrets with a zero-reset option to prevent accidental adjustments while in the field. Finally, the single-piece tube construction makes it durable and smooth.
While the scope is great, there are few disadvantages worth noting. There is no natural zoom on this scope which can make sighting your target a little harder than it’d be with other scopes. There are also no sunshades for this scope so you’d need to find an after-market accessory for it if you want one. Finally, the field of view at the top magnification is a short 11.3 feet at 100 yards. All that being said, considering the affordable price of this scope, a lot of people seem to think that these are acceptable losses.
Click here for reviews of Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 on Amazon
This is a high-end scope used by the military in both the US and Canada. It’s incredibly easy to use and effective in the field. You can switch smoothly from the 1x magnification to the 4x by only moving a lever on the scope. As a fallback option, there are also iron sights located on the top of the scope’s optic. When it comes to the reticle, it is a standard red dot at the 1x zoom that changes as you increase the magnification while still remaining less than 2 MOA in size. The eye relief is a comfortable 2.75 inches.
Quality scopes don’t come cheap and this one is no different. It’s quite expensive with most shops pricing it over $2,000. This is something that can make a lot of people look elsewhere but the scope is so effective that the price is worth paying according to experienced tactical shooters. Another reason why some shooters shy away from this mid-range scope is its weight. The scope is built solid and can be heavy to some users weighing in at 22.7 ounces. Overall, if you don’t mind this and money is of no concern, this is one of the best mid-range tactical scopes available.
Click here for reviews of Elcan Specterdr 1/4×5.56 NATO Flat Dark Earth on Amazon
This is an affordable, multi-functional scope with a wide range of features including immediate ranging on both 9-inch and 18-inch objects. This scope also features a fast-focus ocular and first focal plane reticle with ballistic holds across the magnification range. The lens BK-7 glass producing beautiful clarity even in dimming sunlight.
The PFI scope is also shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof thanks to multi-coated lenses. This will allow you to accurately hit your target while out in the elements and will also keep the scope from becoming damaged while in use. The durable aluminum tube and anodized finish mean that you can feel comfortable transporting this scope even in rough terrain. These are important features when looking for tactical equipment since you’ll be moving around frequently with your equipment. Similarly, the turrets are solid and won’t move around on their own.
Click here for reviews of Pride Fowler PFI Rapid-Reticle RR Evolution 3-12x42mm on Amazon
All of these mid-range tactical scopes are incredibly functional in the field and have great features that will help you aim and hit your target every time. Each one has positive user reviews touting the effectiveness of each ensuring that purchasing any one of them will be beneficial for you.
However, if you want to get down to it, the Elcan Specterdr 1/4x 5.56 NATO Flat Dark Earth is a fantastic choice if money is of no consequence to you. It’s trusted by military operatives in multiple countries and is so durable that it can withstand frequent use and rough handling. That being said, if you’re on a budget the more affordable, American made Vortex is a fantastic choice even if it is geared more toward hunting instead of tactical shooting.
As you compare these options or any other mid-range tactical scopes, always keep your personal needs and preferences in mind. Even the highest quality scope might not be the right fit for you if one of the features doesn’t line up with your needs.
At the end of the day, your mid-range tactical scope should help you hit your target no matter the circumstances. It should offer clear optics, be durable, and have a simple user interface so you’re not left fumbling in the field.
Thankfully, there are plenty of options on the market. Start with the reviewed products here and then expand your search if you’d like more options. Now that you know what to look for while shopping, you can confidently make an informed purchase decision on your own.